Nairobi (The Times Groupe)- The UN World Food Program (WFP) on Tuesday has suspended food assistance to South Sudan due to insufficient funding.
According to a statement released in Juba, the WFP’s decision will increase the risk of starvation for 1.7 million people.
Approximately $426 million is needed to reach six million food-insecure individuals by 2022, according to the UN humanitarian organization.
South Sudan, a member of the East African Community, is currently experiencing its “hungriest year” since it gained independence in 2011, with over 60% of the population facing severe food insecurity, a situation exacerbated by the Ukraine conflict and local climate change.
“Humanitarian needs far exceed the funding we have received this year,” said Adeyinka Badejo, acting WFP country director for South Sudan.
“If this trend continues,” she warned, “we will face bigger and more costly problems in the future, including malnutrition, stunting, and disease.”
WFP officials are extremely concerned about the impact of the funding cuts on children, women, and men who will not have enough to eat during the lean season.
According to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) assessment, 7.74 million people will experience acute acute hunger during the lean season, which runs from June to August, and 1.4 million children will be critically malnourished.
“These families have exhausted all their coping mechanisms. “They need immediate humanitarian assistance to put food on the table,” Badejo said.
Amid the same budget difficulties, the World Food Program cut food rations in half in September of last year, leaving most households with very little food to eat.
WFP food rations include cereals, pulses, vegetable oil, and salt.
Food suspension aid will also affect 178,000 schoolchildren, who will no longer receive daily school meals, a crucial safety net that helps keep South Sudanese children in school.